Tuesday, 18 May 2010

21) Cycle 50 miles; Post 2

I doubt many people remember a post I put in my first two weeks of blogging, about my decision to start training for a 50 mile bike ride. I got my bike fixed and everything!

It has now been five months... but in my defence a lot has happened this year! But all should be forgiven, as I have actually got off my bum to start. And I know what you'll be thinking... one bike ride doesn't mean I am on track.. well HA! It is two bike rides!

The Maiden Voyage

Last week me and Dan (a guy I met at University, who had the same student placement place as me) decided to go on a bike ride. He's sneakily been going on a couple.. which I think is cheating. Anyway... we decided to follow the canals, as they always follow a pretty flat path. We didn't really have any plan on where to go, but we both kind of considered following them to Oxford (I still don't know if that is possible, ask me in a few weeks).

My bum went numb almost instantly. Damn bike saddles! Dan used an iPhone app that was meant to track your distance and path... so we could brag about it to everyone in the world later.

To my horror, canals have tunnels. Some of these tunnels don't have pathways, meaning I had to venture into the scary world of roads and people. I don't know how to cycle on the road... only real adults can cycle on a road... I didn't even pass my cycling proficiency test when I was 10. I'm pretty sure it is the definition of leaving my comfort zone. And this didn't just happen once... it happened many times.

At one point me and Dan found perhaps the scariest tunnel in the world. It was 2,768 meters long, that is 1.7 miles.. in pitch black, with a walkway barely wide enough to cycle. We maybe got about 100m down before we were too scared to continue. When I say we.. I mean Dan and not me *cough*. We vowed to return.

There is only so long I can drag a 'I rode my bike story', so I will end it by saying after getting hissed at by geese, told off my police and nearly falling in canals, we managed to cycle about 17 miles. I say 'about', because Dan's annoying map application failed, and tried to make out we only did 8 miles. I hope it isn't true.

The Return

When I vow to return to a scary tunnel, I almost always mean it. The following Sunday (3 days ago), even the most brutal hangover of the year couldn't stop me (that is another story). I was literally drunk for a good while after I woke up (by Dan on the phone.. very early).

We set out, again making the mistake of not really knowing where to go, other than to the scary tunnel. We didn't even think of looking where the canal goes after that. Maybe Oxford?

We entered the scary tunnel, armed with a torch held by Dan - I let him be the lead guy because he begged... and a small light on my bike. The dim light at the end of the tunnel seemed to not be getting any bigger however far we went. We cycled on and on, through long puddles of water, with the occasional drop hitting us from above. At one point we thought we could hear something, and stopped. We then heard someone clapping us. I'm not too big to say I nearly shat myself.

We finally got out of the tunnel 20 minutes later and carried along the path, which took us into the very centre of Birmingham. I was actually quite shocked! We got a McDonalds (anyone who says that is counter-productive should Jeff off... I was still suffering with a horrible hangover) and went home.

The final distance for this epic journey was 26 miles. I am quite pleased with myself... I wasn't that tired from it, and I think 50 miles is achievable soon. My friends were even more impressed, knowing how ridiculously drunk we were the night before.


  1. That's awesome!! And I can vow for your drunkenness which makes it even more impressive. I've decided that I am going to start cycling as well. Although I think I will avoid creepy looking tunnels. I just need a basket for my bicycle (and maybe some streamers).

  2. That is quite impressive! Tell me, is there really such a thing as a cycling proficiency test? It sounds a bit ridiculous to me, but I never know with you Brits... =D

  3. This is pretty tight... I love bike riding. Plus it gives you bomb ass legs :)

  4. I failed my bike proficiency test too, but then i got all upset and they gave me the certificate anyway! haha
    is it the big tunnel in like netherton or somewhere? iv never made it all the way through cause no one has ever taken a torch with them. that tunnel takes me back to my childhood days if it is the same one!!

  5. Brilliant - I'm almost too embarassed to tell you when the last time I cycled was. But guess what Andy? You cycled a marathon!

  6. I actually thought of you after I finished it... and thought "Jesus Christ I couldn't have ran that" haha!